Types of Beef Cattle
There are 250 types of beef cattle in the world and 80 of these breeds are found
in United States. Crossbreeding is a common method to produce new and more productive breeds. Crossbreeding of
purebreds is carried out on commercial levels to improve the quality of animals. Only most high quality breeds are
involved and they must also complement each other’s qualities like mature body size, milk quality and production,
puberty age, ability to adapt to different environments, rate and efficiency of gain, muscle expression, cutability
Two biological types of beef cattle are Bos
indicus and Bos Taurus. Bos indicus are from South Central Asia and are also known as Zebu-type. They are humped
beef cattle. They are most suitable to live in tropical and sub-tropical environments. They can bear heat and
humidity. They can also digest low quality feed. Bos indicus are not very reproductive and vigorous. Their
crossbreeding with Bos taurus makes them vigorous and productive, with strong adaptation qualities. Bos indicus
live longer than Bos taurus but have low birth weight than them. Usually problem of low birth weight is relieved
when Bos indicus bulls are bred with cows of other breeds. The Nelore, Gyr, Guzerat, Brahman, Brangus, and
Beefmaster breeds fall under Bos indicus category.
Bos taurus are believed to have come from the ancient Celtic Shorthorn. They are
sub-classified into British breeds and Continental breeds. British breeds are also known as English breeds and
belong to the British Isles. Continental breeds also known as Exotics belong to Europe. Common British breeds are
Angus, Hereford and Polled Hereford, Red Angus, Red Poll and Shorthorn. Common continental breeds are Charolais,
Chianina, Gelbvieh, Limousin, Maine-Anjou, Salers, Simmental, Tarentaise and Texas Longhorn. Continental breeds are
larger in size than British breeds. They are also slim and beefy. They can also adjust to hot temperatures. British
breeds have good flesh and intramuscular fat.
Two common Bos indicus types are Brahman and Brangus. Brahman breed are usually grey or
red in color. They have horns and a hump. They were developed in US from humped cattle of India and Brazil. They
are strong and highly adaptable to hot climates. They have inner strength to fight various parasites. Brangus was
developed from Brahman and Angus. They are black and without horns or polled. They are very muscular and beefy.
They can bear heat and are strong and hard.
Different types of beef cattle are developed by crossbreeding purebreds, keeping in
mind the climatic environment they have to live in, the demands of the market they have to meet and production
conditions. You can never point out one breed which is perfect, since all are perfected to deal with different